Thursday, October 30, 2014

Easy Vegetable Pulao | Pressure cooker Pulao

This is a recipe for a simple pulao which can be done in the essential Indian cooking device, the pressure cooker. It is a mix of my Peas Pulao and Coconut milk rice recipe. I had never tried using shallots aka pearl onions before now in a pulao recipe. I ran out of regular onions and used shallots in place of them. I can't stress enough but try using them in your pulao recipes next time, it tastes awesome.

Serves - 2
Rice - 1 cup (160 ml)
Carrots - 2, chopped
Peas - a handful
Pearl onions - 4, peeled and sliced into rounds
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Bay leaf - 1
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Coconut milk - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup
Salt - to taste
Wash and soak the rice for 5 minutes, then drain the water. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add the bay leaf. After a minute or so add the sliced onions and saute until they turn pink. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute in medium heat for 2 minutes. Now add the carrots, peas and garam masala with salt. Add the rice and fry for a minute. Add the coconut milk, water and check for salt. Cover and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Fluff with a fork and serve hot with any spicy curry. I served with Bahara Baingan.
Linking this to Priya's Vegan Thursday's.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mini Pumpkin Pancakes (Eggless) | Breakfast Recipes | Infant & Toddler Food Ideas

Feeding a toddler is really a challenging task. OK, I agree I am stating the obvious here. Their mood for the food they like changes like the wind. An all-time idli / dosa lover, his recent addictions are pancakes. He has mastered the art of eating with forks with pancakes. I made this mini pancakes, painted with syrup and cut into bite sized pieces. He loves to pick it up with fork and eat all by himself. And without fuss, that is the important point. 
As in my earlier posts on feeding kids, I always try to incorporate fruit/veggie purees in his oatmeal and pancakes. His recent love are these pumpkin pancakes and I felt I should share this super simple recipe here in my space.

Makes about 20 mini pancakes
All purpose flour - 3/4 cup
Whole wheat flour - 1/4 flour (you could use all AP flour)
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Pumpkin Spice - 1/2 tsp (click here for home made pumpkin spice recipe)
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Milk, preferably whole - 1 cup (Substitute almond milk for a vegan version)
Pumpkin puree - 2/3 cup
Oil - 1 tbsp
Butter - 1 tbsp, melted (Use oil for vegan version)

Sieve the dry ingredients together. Whisk the milk, pumpkin puree, oil and butter well. Pour over the dry ingredients and whisk until no streaks of flour remain. A little lumps are OK. Heat a skillet/pan in medium heat and pour tbsp measures (or 1/4 cup measure for regular size) of the batter. When bubbles start appearing, flip and continue to cook the other side for a minute or two. Remove to a plate and serve topped with maple syrup. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thavala Vadai / Mixed Dhals Vada | Snacks Recipes

When I was in India for Summer, I wasn't thinking about clicking anything for the blog :). I had scheduled some posts, so I wasn't even thinking about this space. I had planned to learn more cooking from grandma, aunts and mother-in-law but nothing much happened with my 2 yr old running around. One day my MIL made this thavala vada and asked me if I would want to click some pics for the blog.. How would I not?? So When my lil one was napping, I sneaked to the drawing room to take some pictures. I was really excited to click these pictures on a fresh banana leaf, which is like a dream come true for me, a South Indian living in the US.
MIL used the traditional veesam padi (1 cup here )for this, it is approximately 60 ml
Chana dhal - 1 cup
Toor dhal - 1/2 cup
Whole urad dhal  1/2 cup
Moong dhal - 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp
Raw rice - 1 tbsp
Green chillies - 3
Red chillies - 2
Hing / Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Fresh Coconut - cut into tiny pieces - 2 tbsp (Can use fresh grated coconut too)
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tsp + more for deep frying
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp

Wash and soak chana dhal, toor dhal, urad dhal, rice and 1/2 cup moong dhal for 1 hour. Wash and soak the 1 tbsp of moong dhal separately. Drain the dhal mixture completely. Place in a blender with chillies, asafoetida and salt. Grind coarsely. Add the coconut, curry leaves, moong dhal and mix. Heat 1 tsp of oil and splutter the mustard seeds. Pour over the dhal mixture. Heat oil for deep frying. Take lime sized dhal mixture and form thick patties. Deep fry until golden brown. Serve hot with chutney.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Chocolate Almond Avocado Cookies / Butter-free Oil-free Cookies | Cookie Recipes

After the decadently indulgent Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles, here comes another cookie recipe from me. No! These are not another guilty pleasure, but rather a healthy cookie. Ok.. Don't be surprised when I put "healthy" and "cookie" all in the same sentence. These are made with Avocados instead of butter and are super light and airy and you don't have to feel guilty to sink your teeth into them.

Recipe adapted from here
Makes about 2 dozen bite sized cookies
All purpose flour - 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp
Cocoa powder - 1/4 cup
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Brown sugar, packed - 1/4 cup
Egg - 1
Avocado - 1 (1/2 cup, mashed)
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Sliced Almonds - 1 cup

Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Beat the sugar, brown sugar with mashed avocado until smooth. Add the egg, vanilla and mix again. Add the flour mixture and whisk until no traces of flour remain. Do not overmix. Fold in the sliced almonds. Scoop about 2 tsp of the dough and place in the baking sheet. A cookie scoop would come in handy here to make it mess-free. These cookies wont spread or rise much so you could place them fairly near, about 20 cookies in a sheet worked for me. After scooping and placing the dough, dip your fingers or the bottom of a glass tumbler in a bowl of water and flatten each cookie dough slightly based on desired thickness. Dip your fingers in water before flattening each cookie. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
You could substitute chocolate chips for almonds or use a 1/2 cup of almonds and 1/2 cup chocolate chips combo.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hot and Sweet Basil Tofu | Vegan Recipes

Tofu is a great source of protein for Vegans and I make at least one tofu dish a month. Tofu sure is bland but that is its great quality. It absorbs any flavor so beautifully and is very appetizing in that way. Asian inspired curries with tofu is easy to make and gets ready in a jiffy. When served over rice, it makes a complete meal with the perfect balance of carbohydrates, protein and fiber. Do not forget to use lots of colorful vegetables in this dish to make it a feast for the eyes and taste.
Also check out my other curries with tofu - Szechwan style Tofu, Thai Green Curry and Thai Red Curry.
Serves - 2
Tofu - 14 oz block, pressed and cut into cubes
Red bell pepper - 1 large, sliced thin
Green beans - 10, ends removed cut into 1" pieces
Sesame oil - 2 tsp
Ginger & garlic - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Thai Basil leaves - 1/2 cup, tightly packed, roughly chopped
For the Sauce:
Vegetable stock - 1 cup
Soy sauce - 1/4 cup
Chilli sauce - 1 tbsp (Sriracha)
Brown sugar - 1 tbsp
Vinegar - 1/2 tbsp
Corn starch - 1 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Pepper - a pinch
Mix the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and set aside. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and fry the tofu pieces until all sides of the tofu are brown. Remove and set aside. Heat the remaining oil and fry the green beans for a minute or two. Now throw in the red bell peppers and fry for a minute. Throw in the chopped ginger and garlic and the basil leaves. Saute for a minute and then add the sauce. Let it thicken for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and mix in the fried tofu. Serve hot over steamed rice.
Linking this to Priya's Vegan Thursdays.